An ecological survey of the pakihi lands of the Westport District, Nelson (1951)
AuthorsRigg, H. H.show all
Two hundred thousand acres of wasteland. This land known as the pakihis stretches intermittently from West Nelson down the coast to South Westland. Flat or gently rolling, a vivid green in colour, it appears to form excellent pasture - yet this land is probably some of the most unproductive in New Zealand. The extremely leached soil supports a low growth of fern and sedge. Due to impeded drainage the ground is exceedingly wet, often approaching semi-bog conditions. Where it is very flat and low lying considerable stretches of peat may occur. The Maori word pakihi simply means an open clearing in the bush. Today it is not only applied to the vast stretches of open country, but also to poor forest which is gradually giving way to semi-pakihi conditions. In this thesis pakihi is restricted to that land covered by a predominate growth of fern and sedge t and is not applied to those areas of forest which are gradually dying out, nor to out-over land which while carrying a growth of some pakihi species nevertheless also carries a growth of gorse, black-berry and many other weeds. The most extensive area of pakihi is found in the vicinity of Westport - 48,000 acres occurring in the Buller County alone. Other areas of considerable size are found in the Collingwood and Takaka Counties, Inangahua County, the Maimai plains and areas stretching back from Greymouth and Hokitika. All appear to bear much the same vegetation.